Harbor Gala

SCENE & HEARD

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

October 14, 2007|By SLOANE BROWN

FLASHBACK TO THE 1940S AT THE SCOTTISH Rite, courtesy the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The theme for this, the 15th annual Harbor Gala, was "Swanky Club Soiree." When guests entered the building, they were greeted with a glass of champagne and tunes from a trio of would-be Andrews Sisters. And when it was time for supper, they made their way downstairs to the ballroom, which was decked out in glamorous white linens and ostrich-feather centerpieces.

But, what made those nightclubs -- like the Coconut Grove, Copacabana and Latin Quarter -- the "in" places in their day was the chi-chi crowd who went there. This supper club didn't disappoint either, with folks like Bob and Caryl Siems, Stacy Ross, Mark Sapperstein, Dennis Castleman, Greg and Lisa Barnhill, and Edie and Stan Brown in the mix.

"Cystic Fibrosis has a way of drawing the best people in the city. They put on the greatest events for the greatest cause," said Aris Melissaratos, acknowledging that he had a slight bias, as he is the board chairman of the CFF.

"It's an extraordinary collection of people who come to support Cystic Fibrosis," said board member Chuck Nabit, who had co-chaired last year's party with his wife, Mary Kay.

"It's a wonderful turnout. Peter and Millicent Bain chaired it this year. And they did a terrific job. The room is full of people," marveled CFF executive director Josie Schaeffer, as she scanned the room.

"This is the swankiest party of the year," said Melissa Jachelski, owner of Mjach Designs.

A DRINK WITH HELGA SURRATT

HELGA SURRATT GREW UP IN Germany, but came to the United States in 1969, when she was working for German heavy-equipment manufacturers. Thirty-eight years later, she is president of About Faces Day Spa and Salon, a Baltimore-based beauty business that has five Maryland locations. She lives in the Ruxton area with her lifetime partner, Patrick Brennan, a retired aeronautics engineer and current About Faces CEO. Their 26-year-old son, Eric, is the company's operations manager.

How did you end up in the beauty business?

I thought I had to be totally perfect in English if I was going to work for an American [heavy-equipment company]. So that was the main reason I looked for something else to do. Someone suggested I become a fashion model, and I thought, ooh, I don't have to talk. ... The funny thing is I've been talking ever since. ... I became a Barbizon model and instructor. From Barbizon, I went to World of Faces. I got involved with the company and invested in the Towson location in 1978. Then I went back to school and became an aesthetician.

How do you manage to work with the same person you live with?

That's why we have different locations! [She laughs.]

How would you describe yourself?

I have been called quirky, especially by my son. Fun-loving. Love to dance. I like to be lighthearted. ... I'm bad with delegation because I want to be involved. Plus, I'm very persistent.

Any pet peeves?

Loud noises irritate me. ... Voices that are not calming are irritating to me.

ONLINE Sloane Brown takes you to the party with a calendar of upcoming events and video reports at baltimoresun.com / scene

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